Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Rand Wilson on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Tuesday, September 24, 2013).

Will this sort of reciprocal linking help or hurt with Google?

Reciprocal linking.. but..
Today i humbly ask the experts for their opinions..
I have a website that reviews television commercials (not the product, the commercial for that product).  I have an agreement with another webmaster that reviews the actual product to place reciprocal (nofollow) links on the pages whenever we review the same thing (I do the commercial, he does the product) - so the content is extremely relevant.  We agreed to do this for the visitors (to drive traffic) who may/should find it helpful.
My question is, will this sort of reciprocal linking help or hurt with The Google?  Would it be better or make any difference to use follow links instead of NoFollow?

This question begins at 02:13:37 into the clip. Did this video clip play correctly? Watch this question on YouTube commencing at 02:13:37
Video would not load
I see YouTube error message
I see static
Video clip did not start at this question


Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Rob Wagner: Good question. I&#39;m sure there will be differing opinions on this. I would start out reviewing Google&#39;s guidelines, specifically link schemes [1]. I did find one Matt Cutts video on this topic, but it did not address this specific scenario [2].<br /><br />My personal belief is that reciprocal links done for the benefit of the visitor makes complete sense. This is a great example of what Google is looking for - a better user experience. The problem is the guidelines have some ambiguity. What is excessive? ;<br /><br />I can think of some other examples that would make sense. What if you are a drywall contractor? Would it not make sense to partner with painting contractors and exchange links? The question is how many painting contractors constitute excessive? I suppose it boils down to opinion. ;<br /><br />A few other questions to be answered are:  ;(1) what does the overall backlinking profile look like? (2) how many times will the link exchanges take place? and, (3) will there be a few link exchanges mixed in with thousands of natural links, or will there be 10 or 20 exchanges mixed in a link profile of 100 backlinks? ;<br /><br />My opinion? This is a judgment call. Ask yourself how much risk tolerance you have. If the site has little or no Google traffic, then the risk is minimal. You aren&#39;t getting any traffic from Google anyway, so you lose nothing at this point. If the site in question has a fair amount of traffic from Google, then the risk may not be worth the reward. In other words, the benefit of the link may cause minimal ranking influence.  ;However, receiving a manual ranking adjustment may cause severe traffic loss. ;<br /><br />If you have any reservations about the links, then nofollow them. Frankly, asking the question would indicate a concern and <b>playing it safe would be my suggestion.</b>  ; ;<br /><br />[1]  ;<br />[2] 
  • Johnny Base:  ;I have nothing to contribute to your question because I don&#39;t know. But what you are doing sounds very interesting and is a great idea I would think. I&#39;m going to look into that on some of my sites. If you use no-follow links how would there be a problem? As long as you are building other links which out number the links to the site? Right?  ;Thanks for sharing
  • Justin Y: In my honest opinion I think it&#39;s safe if they provide a good user experience, feels natural, and that the links don&#39;t look like paid links. The sites are relevant, the content is useful and they both support each other. To me adding nofollow is unnatural and I don&#39;t think nofollow fully protects/prevents Google from identifying link schemes or other shady linking tactics. 

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Tuesday, September 24, 2013).